Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act works, so why repeal it?

The need to protect Wisconsin workers attempting to balance family responsibility with jobs and careers is the reason why the state enacted its Family Medical Leave Act in 1988. The law prevents worker discrimination for taking family leave or medical leave.

Five years after the state enacted its FMLA, the federal government followed with its own statute. The two laws have coexisted as dual protections for state residents who might be victims of pregnancy discrimination or whose employers might otherwise seek to take advantage of them or subject them to discrimination for taking medical leave.

Now, some state legislators want to eliminate the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act. Their argument is that the federal statute protects state workers, so the state law is an unnecessary duplication of protections.

Opponents of the proposal to repeal a law that some say was the model for the federal statute point out that provisions of the state law are more favorable to workers. For example, state law allows workers a choice of the type of paid leave they wish to take. It is also pointed out that state rules do not require employees to work as many hours as does the federal law.

Both sides on this issue agree that public hearings are needed before any action is taken. In the meantime, a New Berlin employment law attorney might be a good source of guidance and legal advice about your state and federal rights if you believe you have been the victim of discrimination for taking family leave, medical leave or paternity leave.

Source: WSAW, “Talks to Repeal Wisconsin’s Family Medical Leave Act,” Holly Chilson, June 18, 2015

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